Group has 10 sleeping cabins for unhoused people, but no where to put them yet

Volunteers Don Quarrie, Robin Nelson, John Earnshaw and Josh Gontier assemble one of the sleeping cabins the group Peterborough Action for Tiny Homes (PATH) is building to provide shelter for people experiencing homelessness. They group still needs a site to locate them on and is asking for the new city council to help. (Photo: Keith Dalton)

A local group says it has submitted a report to Peterborough’s new city council urging councillors to allow 10 to 15 sleeping cabins for people without housing to be located on city-owned land starting this winter.

“We’re just hoping that they can work with us to establish that piece of land,” said Trish Campbell, chair of Peterborough Action for Tiny Homes (PATH).

She said homelessness was a top issue in the October municipal election and fighting it is one of the “basic mandates” the new council was elected to carry out.

The report suggests a number of city properties that would be suitable for a sleeping cabin pilot project, which would also include communal buildings with washrooms and kitchen and laundry facilities, Campbell said. Currents has not seen a copy of the report.

The group already has 10 cabins ready to go, they just need somewhere to put them, Campbell said.

They were built using a modular design and need to be assembled, insulated and wired for electricity on site.

Two are currently being put together by students at Thomas A. Stewart Secondary School and Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School and another stands as a demonstration at Grace United Church, in the south end. The communal buildings still need to be built.

All the parts to build several pre-fabricated sleeping cabins are being stored at a farm east of Peterborough, until a site can be found. (Photo: Keith Dalton)

A private landowner had offered the group vacant land at Lansdowne St. and Park St. to use free of charge, but city staff said it would take as much as a year and a half for the project to go through the planning approval process, Campbell said.

Now the group is trying to rally support from the new council to make city-owned property available starting as early as December.

“What we’re trying to do in this report is suggest that there are city options and… we would certainly plea to them that this is an urgent situation,” Campbell said.

Although cold weather has already returned, Campbell is still hopeful they can get the cabins in place for this winter. “Many things would have to fall into place very, very well. But we’re not letting go of that possibility,” Campbell said.

PATH is planning a rally to draw attention to the homelessness crisis at Confederation Park on Saturday, November 26, two days before the new council is sworn in during a special meeting to be held at the Mount Community Centre on Monaghan Road.

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